Congress Must Cut Off AARP’s Taxpayer Funding

AARP report coverToday I sent this letter to House Speaker John Boehner:

Republican members of Congress have asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate the non-profit tax status of AARP in light of the group’s massive lobbying operation and its significant commercial activities. We strongly support this request. In addition, Reps. Wally Herger and Dave Reichert have put out a report titled Behind the Veil: The AARP America Doesn’t Know, which we welcome.

At the same time, AARP’s tax status is determined by the IRS, not Congress. We ask Congress to take an action that is within its own authority – ending the federal subsidy for AARP.

I have enclosed our Special Report titled How the Federal Government Subsidizes AARP: Billion-Dollar Nonprofit Gets Tens of Millions of Dollars in Taxpayer Money Each Year.

Published in January 2007, this study found that federal funding accounted for $83 million, or about 10 percent, of AARP’s annual revenue at that time of $878 million. These figures were compiled from documents secured under the Freedom of Information Act, and only after many months of noncooperation by federal department officials. The amount of taxpayer funding for AARP is no doubt higher today.

On February 7, 2007, we sent a coalition letter to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, along with a copy of the Special Report, asking Congress to end all federal subsidies to AARP.

The letter was co-signed by Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform; (the late) Paul Weyrich, National Chairman of Coalitions for America; Jim Martin, President of 60 Plus; J. William Lauderback, Executive Vice President of American Conservative Union; Thomas Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste; Lewis Uhler, President of the National Tax-Limitation Committee; Terrence Scanlon, President of Capital Research Center; and Mary M. Martin, Chairman of the Board of The Seniors Coalition.

Speaker Hastert took no action on the request. In fact, his office did not even acknowledge our request, despite media coverage that included an Associated Press story.

A majority of Americans voted to end wasteful and unnecessary spending. If AARP is lobbying and conducting commercial activities, it shouldn’t be getting taxpayer money.